Activists urge Kansas archbishop to broaden reporting of clergy abuse

By Tim Carpenter
Capital Journal
August 20, 2019

David Clohessy and Larry Davis stood on a busy Topeka street corner Tuesday for a moment of silence on behalf of people who committed suicide after they were abused by priests.

“A lot of people who endure this horror don’t survive and end up taking their own lives dealing with the pain,” said Clohessy, representing the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP.

Both men had plenty to say, however, across the street from Topeka’s Mater Dei Catholic Church about their belief Archbishop Joseph Naumann, of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, hadn’t been proactive enough in reaching out to victims or in identifying alleged perpetrators involved with Catholic churches.

Evidence of a shortcoming, Davis said, was that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation launched an inquiry of claims of misconduct in four Catholic dioceses in Kansas.

“Because of the lack of proactive behavior on the part of Archbishop Naumann, for the lack of the archdiocese being totally open and truthful, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is now investigating,” said Davis, of Olathe.

In January, Naumann released a list of 22 clerics with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. The list reflected acts occurring from the 1940s to 1990s. Of the 22, 10 served as priests of the Kansas City archdiocese. When the list was published, 11 were deceased and seven others had been withdrawn from clerical duties.

“I thank all victims who have courageously come forward with allegations in order to prevent someone else from being victimized, as well as to assist with the progress of their own healing process,” Naumann said.

The KBI’s inquiry of abuse began in February. In July, the attorney general’s office reported the FBI had opened 74 investigations in 33 counties.

Clohessy, the former national director of SNAP, said five other people should have been included in Naumann’s list. He said the archbishop’s list ought to contain the names of Fathers Roger Sinclair, Anthony Palmese, Norman Rogge, Francis Nawn and Richard Pauson.

He said Rogge, Nawn and Pauson were assigned to St. Mary’s College in St. Mary’s. Rogge is believed to be the only U.S. priest who was convicted twice for sexually abusing kids, once in 1967 and again in 1985, he said. Rogge received probation both times and was allowed to continue in the ministry, Clohessy said.

He said Nawn was accused in lawsuits of molesting 10 people in Alaska. Pauson was on a 2011 list of Jesuit clerics who were identified as perpetrators of sexual abuse, he said.

Clohessy said Palmese, who had been “credibly accused” of molesting a child in Omaha, was at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Topeka. He said Sinclair was dismissed from a job at Topeka State Hospital and was identified in a Pennsylvania grand jury as an alleged molester of children.

“Archbishop Naumann put out a list of 22 credibly accused priests, but he did plenty of hairsplitting and minimizing, and he leaves all five of these men off the list,” said Clohessy, who was abused along with three of his brothers by a priest.

“They continue to ignore, be indifferent, deflect, lie by omission, lie in general to protect the archdiocese,” Davis said. “We’re out here just to remind them that this is not going to go away.”


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